Timeless Moments

I stand outside the church, a simple mud and block building with a tin roof, overlooking the Himalayan foothills. And I feel strangely out of place. This tiny village, so overlooked by time, lacks most modern conveniences. Meals are cooked over a gas cook stove like we might use for camping, the bathroom is plumbed, but outside, separate from living quarters, and the roads are only roughly paved in certain places, muddy paths in others. Spanning out before me are mountains and valleys, terraced rice fields next to tiny villages like this one, couched on lower hillsides, and in the crevices and crags of the mountainsides and a winding river etching crooked lines through the dense forest. Yet, here I am, out of place and time, after three full days of travel by car, jet, and four-wheel drive truck. Yes the journey has been long and exhausting, even treacherous, as we have forded mountains streams turned to rivers by recent rains, and struggled over muddy, pot-holed stretches of road clinging to the edge of a cliff. But it isn’t just the remoteness, or the simplicity of the location. It is more.

Here I stand surrounded by  believers of a different culture, who for the very first time are about to receive God’s precious written Word in their own heart language. And I, an American by birth, have lived with the blessing of multiple English translations in my own home since infancy. The blessing I have taken for granted so many times through out the years, has reached into their world and is shedding a new light in this remote place. I have been invited to see it, to celebrate it, to join with my brothers and sisters in praising God for His Word.  img_2166

Can a moment be timeless–after all the term demotes the passage of time? Yes the celebration is an event within time, but the moment is one that will last into eternity. A young pastor smiling over his congregation as he announces the distribution of the fresh-from-the-press New Testaments. An old woman clutching the Word close to her breast. A baby, playing on the floor, oblivious to the import of this ceremony, but nevertheless impacted by it. For she will grow up, like me, with a Bible in her own language right at her fingertips. Young people performing a traditional dance to a praise song. All of these offerings of worship to a Timeless God, who stepped into time to offer us the great gift of reconciliation. This God of ours who cannot be bound by time and progress, but who lives in eternity breathing his love and grace into time, inviting us into His eternity.
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Here I stand, held as in a vice, in the timeless truth of His gospel, a participator in this celebration of a moment that stretches from this point in history into eternity. And I know I’m ruined for anything else. I know my heart beats for the timeless moments, the real opportunities of inviting others into His eternity, and the precious gift of being part of spreading His timeless Word into places time has forgotten. My life is bound by time, but the impact of His power through me–now that is timeless!

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